New Releases | June 6, 2023
June 06, 2023
Excellent new books are brought into the world every single week. Here at Porchlight, we track them all and elevate four new releases we are excited about as they hit bookstore shelves on Tuesday morning.
The books are chosen by Porchlight's Managing Director, Sally Haldorson, and the marketing team: Dylan Schleicher, Gabbi Cisneros, and Jasmine Gonzalez. (Book descriptions are provided by the publisher unless otherwise noted.) This week, our choices are:
Sally’s pick: All the Gold Stars: Reimagining Ambition and the Ways We Strive by Rainesford Stauffer, Hachette Go
Ambition—the want, the hunger, the need to achieve—is woven into America’s fabric from the first colonization to capitalism. From our first gold star assignment to acceptance at the “right” college to hustle and grinding our lives, we celebrate our drive, even as we gatekeep who is permitted to strive--and how visibly. Even as we burn out. When we can’t even. When we know: work won’t love us back.
All the Gold Stars looks at how the cultural, personal, and societal expectations around ambition are driving the burnout epidemic by funneling our worth into productivity, limiting our imaginations, and pushing us further apart. Through the devastating personal narrative of her own ambition crisis, Stauffer discovers the common factors driving us all, peeling back layers of family expectations, capitalism, and self-esteem that dangerously tie up our worth in our output. Interviews with students, parents, workers, psychologists, labor organizers, and more offer a new definition of ambition and the tools to reframe our lives around true success. All the Gold Stars provides ways for us to reject our current reality and reconceive ambition as more collective, imaginative, and rooted in caring for ourselves and each other.
Dylan’s pick: The Experience Mindset: Changing the Way You Think about Growth by Tiffani Bova, Portfolio
In the war for customer acquisition, businesses invest millions of dollars to improve customer experience. They deliver packages faster, churn out new products, and endlessly revamp their UI, often putting greater strain on employees for diminishing returns. According to Tiffani Bova, this siloed focus on customer experience—without considering the impact on your staff—actually hinders growth in the long run. The most successful companies adopt an Experience Mindset that strengthens both employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX) at the same time.
Based on exclusive research from two Salesforce-sponsored studies of thousands of employees and c-suite executives, The Experience Mindset details exactly how your company can adopt an Experience Mindset, at scale. It’s not enough to know that happy employees equals happy customers. You must have an intentional, balanced approach to company strategy that involves all stakeholders—IT, Marketing, Sales, Operations, and HR—with KPIs and ownership over outcomes. In this ground-breaking book, filled with case studies of leading companies and never-before-seen research, you’ll learn:
- How people, processes, technology, and culture contribute to the “virtuous cycle” of EX and CX.
- Why the best companies have programs that minimize the customer’s effort as well as the employee’s effort (and how companies like Southwest and Best Buy get this right)
- How to effectively roll out technology solutions that boost both EX and CX (hard truth: only 20% of customer-facing employees believe technology makes their job easier. Employees want a seamless technology experience, just like your customers.)
- What metrics you can use to measure EX, CX, and ultimately, the effect of the two together. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
Employees are the heart of your business. If you want to remain competitive in today’s marketplace, investing in people is no longer a nice-to-have, but rather a must have.
Gabbi’s pick: A Flat Place: Moving Through Empty Landscapes, Naming Complex Trauma by Noreen Masud, Melville House
Does the concept of "flat" have an undeservedly bad rap? There are centuries’ worth of adoration for rolling hills and dramatic, mountainous landscapes. In contrast, flat landscapes are forgettable and seemingly unworthy of poetic or artistic attention.
Noreen suffers from complex post-traumatic stress disorder: the product of a profoundly disrupted and unstable childhood. It flattens her emotions, blanks out parts of her memory, and colours her world with anxiety. Undertaking a pilgrimage around Britain's flatlands, seeking solace and belonging, she weaves her impressions of the natural world with poetry, folklore and history, and with recollections of her own early life.
Noreen's British-Pakistani heritage makes her a partial outsider in these landscapes: both coloniser and colonised, inheritor and dispossessed. Here violence lies beneath the fantasy of pastoral innocence, and histories of harm are interwoven with nature's power to heal. Here, as in her own family history, are many stories that resist the telling. She pursues these paradoxes fearlessly across the flat, haunted spaces she loves, offering a startlingly strange, vivid and intimate account of the land beneath her feet.
Masud combines memoir, nature writing, and literary reflection to explore what can be drawn from these powerful places, and to understand her own experience of complex trauma and post-traumatic stress, as well as grief and loss. A FLAT PLACE is a book that drives to the heart of what it means to experience place — bodily and psychologically — and the healing properties of literature and landscape.
Jasmine’s pick: Where Are Your Boys Tonight?: The Oral History of Emo's Mainstream Explosion 1999-2008 by Chris Payne, Dey Street Press
If Meet Me in the Bathroom traced New York City's early 2000’s rock scene, Where Are Your Boys Tonight? gives the inside story of the turn-of-the-millennium emo subculture that became bigger than anyone thought possible. There was Pete Wentz, the Fall Out Boy leader who launched a litany of scene-stealing bands and preposterous side-hustles, and Gerard Way, the wizard behind My Chemical Romance and The Black Parade. Panic! At the Disco and Paramore emerged soon after—a pair of intrepid outsiders who got massive playing by their own rules. As they ascended, MySpace took over the internet and the age of influencers dawned, with emo its choice aesthetic.
Music journalist Chris Payne experienced emo's mainstream takeover from sweaty crowds and mosh pits growing up in New Jersey. In Where Are Your Boys Tonight? he offers an authoritative, impassioned, and occasionally absurd account told through interviews with more than 150 people, from the scene's biggest bands, producers, and managers to the teenage fans who helped redefine American music culture.
WHAT WE'VE BEEN READING AT HOME
"Hi Honey, I'm Homo! A tell-all book about past sitcoms and the evolution of queerness on TV. Matt Baume explores the genre. He unearths many secrets and hidden gems of the entertainment industry. Baume's frank storytelling is fresh, exciting and feels like you're talking to your best friend about people you have known for ages. Stories from such shows as Bewitched, Friends, Golden Girls, Modern Family and more. Pop some popcorn, sip some tea and enjoy!"
—Roy Normington, Senior Customer Service Specialist